Monday, April 27, 2020

If the Ancient Romans Could Recycle, Then So Can You

A wide shot of the Pompeii archaeological site in Italy.
Photo: Giorgio Cosulich (Getty Images)

A team of researchers at Pompeii recently discovered evidence that Romans were avid recyclers, according to a weekend Guardian report. It figures that the same society that brought us urban planning, indoor heating, and concrete was also ahead of its time with going green too.

Preserved piles of trash, some several meters high, found outside the city walls are believed to have been “staging grounds for cycles of use and reuse,” according to professor Allison Emmerson, an American academic with the University of Cincinnati’s excavation team. While researchers had previously discovered similar garbage heaps around Pompeii, the prevailing theory was that they were created by an earthquake that hit the city nearly two decades before the infamous Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD buried it in volcanic ash.

In fact, many had already been cleared away in the mid-20th century, the Guardian reported. But upon examining a few newly discovered trash heaps, Emmerson and her fellow archaeologists Steven Ellis and Kevin Dicus were able to trace the journey of these bits of plaster, ceramic, and other refuse.

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